BRCC professor arrested in domestic abuse case

When the bell rings Tuesday morning for Baton Rouge Community College’s first day of spring classes, at least one professor will be absent.

Robby J. Burleigh, a philosophy and ethics professor scheduled to teach this spring, has been in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison since Jan. 8, according to Parish Prison booking records.

As of Sunday afternoon, Burleigh, 42, remained there in lieu of $75,000 bail, accused of dragging his pregnant fiancée by her hair to a gun safe in his Central home on the morning of Jan. 8 during an argument and saying, “You’re going to commit suicide today,” according to an East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office probable cause affidavit.

The victim, about 22 years Burleigh’s junior, told investigators the argument began “because she is nine weeks pregnant with his child and he does not want her to have the baby,” a detective wrote in the affidavit. She told deputies their relationship began when she was a student “at school,” although the affidavit doesn’t specify which school.

Burleigh is accused of pinning the woman to the floor after dragging her to the gun safe, slapping her and shattering the woman’s phone on the floor, the affidavit said.

Burleigh, who drove a U-Haul truck to an interview with detectives, told them the argument began after his fiancée found a text message on his phone. He did pin the woman to the ground, he told investigators, but only to calm her down.

He also told detectives he was trying to make arrangements to move.

Deputies booked Burleigh, 11186 Shandon Drive, Central, into Parish Prison on counts of domestic abuse battery, false imprisonment, simple criminal damage to property and a fugitive warrant from Ascension Parish.

Last semester, Burleigh taught introduction to philosophy, introduction to logic, introduction to ethics, and biomedical ethics at BRCC, according to class schedules posted on the college’s website. The classes made up the bulk of the college’s philosophy course offerings.

Steve Mitchell, a BRCC spokesman, confirmed Sunday that Burleigh was previously scheduled to teach some classes this semester, but those positions have since been filled. Mitchell would not say what Burleigh’s job status is at BRCC, saying he could not comment on personnel matters.

The school doesn’t have a policy banning student-teacher relationships, but it does require those involved to notify the school’s human resources department, in which case any potential conflicts of interest would be eliminated, Mitchell said.

“Relationships of that nature are discouraged in general,” Mitchell said.

It was unclear Sunday whether Burleigh, a BRCC professor since at least fall 2012, had notified school personnel about any student-teacher relationship, and Mitchell said he could not confirm whether the victim was ever a student at BRCC.